By Agence France-Presse
The Carolina Panthers confirmed their parting with quarterback Cam Newton, releasing their quarterback of nine years.
“Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas,” general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “Everyone saw his performances on the field. I had the privilege of seeing how hard he worked off the field, and his commitment to this team when no one was watching.
“He willed this team to victory on many occasions and will always be considered one of the greatest players in the history of this franchise.”
The kind words come a week after Newton took the Panthers to task after the team seemed to indicate he had sought to be traded as the club finalized a deal for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“Stop with the word play!!” Newton, the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player, wrote on Instagram. “I never asked for it!! There is no dodging this one. I love the Panthers to death and will always love you guys!!
“Please do not try and play me, or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this; you forced me into this!!”
As recently as January, Newton said he “absolutely” believed he would be in Carolina in the coming season.
In recent weeks the Panthers reportedly explored trade options with several teams, but no deal materialized for the 30-year-old Newton, who has dealt with a string of injuries.
After two shoulder surgeries in less than two years, he was sidelined much of 2019 with a left foot injury.
Newton, who had one year left on his contract and was owed $21.1 million, was the top pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
He was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year that season and in 2015 led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance in which they were beaten by the Denver Broncos.